We now turn to the Late Bustle Period from 1882 through 1890. Unlike the brief period before it, the bustle returned with a vengeance, now more angular and sharply defined, with harder edges than its predecessor in the 1870s. Below are some examples of the later bustle:
From just the few examples above, it’s evident that that bustles during this period came in a variety of materials and shapes. However, in contrast with earlier bustles, these are shorter, concentrated around the natural waist.
Below is a an excellent example of the “shelf bustle” profile characteristic of the mid- 1880s. The “shelf bustle” profile was found in both day dresses and more formal evening and reception dresses. As could be expected, the formal dresses tended to be more dramatic and extreme in profile and the length of the train.
The above evening dress epitomizes the sculpted “shelf bustle” that is characteristic of the 1880s. However, elements of the 1870s still remain: the bodice is remains at waist level and draped skirts are utilized to create a dramatic effect with the skirts being arranged to show off the pleating and trim to its fullest advantage. The is certainly the diametric opposite of the sleek, vertical lines characteristic of the Mid-Bustle Era.
Although the above two examples are day and evening dresses, they both have similar characteristics in that they exhibit the shelf bustle AND the draping of excess skirts characteristic of the early 1870s. One could almost terms this a hybrid style.
However, at the same time, the cuirass bodice characteristic of the Mid Bustle Era made its return, characterized by the bodice now lengthening to cover the hips. With the cuirass bodice, one can also see a reduction in the bustle size and a softening of the bustle angle in which the “shelf” beings to become more curved. Also at the same time, the excess skirts are reduced and there is no draping except for the area below the bustle. The dress below illustrates these trends excellently:
While there was an overlapping in styles during the Late Bustle Era of the mid to late 1880s, it is evident that the overall style was moving towards a more upright style with the bustle evolving into a vestigial pad.
As it can be seen from the above fashion plate, the bustle was pretty much gone and both the dresses and bodices were more tailored and hints at what was to come later during the 1890s.
The Bustle Era never fails to fascinate the modern viewer in that the concept of using elaborate undergarments (eg, the corset) and bustles to achieve a desired aesthetic look runs so counter to fashion aesthetics today. However, the basic idea still lingers one in the form of various form-shaping foundations garments and in some cases even the bustle has been revived in a modified form.
Finally, I leave you with this image:
Nothing is really new in the fashion world…. 🙂